Thursday, February 19, 2009

nothing escapes the lenses

One time in my life, during senior high, I remembered that one of our assignments was to write a short story. It was so fun that I ended up writing a very long tale about a sappy high-school love story. Boy to boy, of course. It was not only loaded with love, but also with witchcraft, revenge and gore. I got the highest score at that time: 90 out of 100.

The funny thing was, although I did read and reread and proofread my writing that time before submitting it to the teacher, I couldn’t bear to read it once it was graded. And then I read a great quote that I hold true in many facets, even until today: you know you’ve written something good if when you read it one day, you love it and not embarrassed because of it.

Well, I’ve been reading and rereading many of my online writings, at my old weblogs at LittleScars and the Notes at my Facebook and I can say that I love them to bits. I mean, yes I am narcissistic and borderline megalomaniac, but I do love my writings and I’m proud of them. They may not be like Salman Rusdhie’s or John Updike’s, though, but I’m getting there – crossing fingers -.

The same thing is also applied to my dance. During the performances in Bellydance Jakarta’s 3rd Annual Recital Ball, I sucked at the veil number but thought that I did perfectly in the drum solo. But up until now, I don’t have the guts to watch the videos. During the performance at Shimmering Shimmies, I thought I did well in all the pieces, but I didn’t have the nerve to watch the videos… Until last night.

The glam tribaret attempt. The video didn't look this good, though.
Photo by Diana Tri Wulandari.

I finally watched the videos. And man! I was so embarrassed by so many things! I commented on this and that, told myself so many should-have’s and would-have’s and could-have’s and tried to pat my back by reassuring myself that it was just a hafla, but the trick didn’t work. I am a perfectionist, at least in dance.

So yes, I still need much guidance and lots of dance experiences. Hopefully in less than a decade, before my hair starts to fall off and I get my first wrinkle, I can present a dance that not only looks perfect in my imagination, but also in videos.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

when the skinny bitch tries to dance

Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actresses. Yes, I do have a handful of favourite actresses, and although sometimes I doubt Ms. Bullock's range of emotions, she shatters that doubt everytime I watch Hacker, Premonition, Lake House, or the totally awesome Crash.

I remember Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. It's one of the most gorgeous, funniest, totally underrated movies. Plus there are fabulous lines and dialogues in it that I live by.

One that I remember well was from the beginning of it. It was when Sam Fuller (Regina King) "accidentally" bumped Gracie Hart (Bullock) and delivered a non-wholeheart "sorry". Yeah, Hart was indeed pissed.

The following dialogue is ensued before a fight erupts.


Gracie Hart: How about a real sorry?
Sam Fuller: Come again?
Gracie Hart: You heard me. I said how about a real sorry.
Sam Fuller: You are about to feel some real pain if you don't back off
Gracie Hart: You don't want to talk to me about pain, sister. I invented pain alright.
Sam Fuller: You didn't just call me sister, because I don't recall seeing a little skinny ass white girl around the table growing up.
Gracie Hart: HEY! First of all thank you for calling me skinny, second of all what is your problem and third of all you'd better apologize to me.


Now, Bullock (or Hart) is not skinny. Nor is she overweight. She is a healthy, HOT woman. In the movie, she doesn't really emphasize the need of being stick thin, but I think like (almost) all women, Gracie Hart does think that being skinny means being more gorgeous.

When I first entered the gym, my intention was not to bulk up. I said I wanted to look like Kylie (Minogue) - with nice, shapely ass and tone, flat abs. I ended up looking like Janet (Jackson) - with a heck pair of arms and... well, and my ass does look a little bigger.

Earlier today when I checked my facebook account, I noticed that my friend had put up a photo of me dancing during last Sunday's "Shimmering Shimmies" and there was a comment that followed.

I wasn't ready to read what I read. But I did read it and it said, "Wait, the dancer doesn't have breasts and has really thin stomach. How can that be a belly dancer?"

Well, first of all, whoever you are, thanks for calling me thin.

Second of all, I can't forgive you for being ignorant and loud about it. I mean, okay, so you don't know anything about belly dancing. If you don't know anything about it, SHUT UP!

I can't believe how enraged I am. But I am very offended and upset. I am so sick of this body image thing. I am so sick of people telling me that I cannot, may not, and must not dance because of my size.

Those who tell you that stick thin people rule don't know anything about life. We are just as irritated by this hullaballoo as the big-sized people are.

Those who tell you that people who don't have great bodies should just stay at home and never come out and do anything that they greatly desire should be tortured and put to death.

Dance, like EVERYTHING else in this life, is created for those who dance well. And the first rule to dance well, like EVERYTHING else in this life, is to be passionate about it.

I have two extraordinary teachers who are not cut like Giselle Bundchen. I have seen them danced and they deliver the dance perfectly. None of my dance sisters have the zero-fat supermodel bodies, but when we dance, we dance with passion.

So don't tell me I don't have the body to belly dance. Criticize my poor and amateurish technique, but never my physique.

So there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

i live for you, the best years of my life

OMG. I can't believe this.

My gym teacher, Ms. Miftah is organising a hafla for her cardiobelly students. She teaches in quite a few places and her first ever hafla will be done this Sunday, 8 February 2009, at Shisha Cafe, Kemang.

But that's not it.

I'm going to be dancing too! *screams*


I won't be dancing the elegant Egyptian style that Ms. Yaven teaches, though. I mean, apart from not having the guts and enough knowledge, I am more inclined to the American Cabaret style. I don't even mind calling it "Cabaret" or "Nightclub" because no matter what, I do love cabaret and I do go to nightclubs (although I don't drink alcohol or smoke). But I know for a fact that it is impossible to do any style without learning the basic first. And the basic is Egyptian.

I'll be dancing solo twice. The first one will be the (attempted) American Cabaret style with veil. I've actually been making, completing and practicing this choreography since July last year. The songs I use are "Kamasutra" by Sarah Brightman, "Ayshalak" by Elissa, and a drum solo that I have yet found the title and the artist.

The "Kamasutra" song is actually one of the pieces from the original soundtrack of Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (directed by Mira Nair, released in 1996, rated "R" for American audience). The title of the piece is "Maya's Theme", which I found appropriately said because I love, love, love the maia movement. To tell you the truth, it's kind of a rip-off from the seven veil choreography of Ms. Tamalyn Dallal, because that's where I got the inspiration to do something with the song.

That song will be used to enter with veil.

The second song is "Ayshalak" by Elissa. I first heard this song last year after an impulsive purchase of a double CD Arabic album. "Ayshalak" is the first song in the first CD and I didn't know how, but a set of choreographies just flooded my mind. Below are the lyrics (in Arabic) and the translations.


ayshalak ahla sneen
fil omry ya dayy el ain
wa bi alby ya ghaly haneen
wi gharam min awwel youm fi hawak
kan helmy akoun wayak
law youm min omry maak
wa kteer wana batmannak ya habibi
el alby we bastannak
arabny habibi kaman
ana shoui eleek we elhan
emlani iddounya hanan naseeny
maak kull el ahzan
ashak wana mahma aoul
ana rouhi maak ala toul
dana alby kteer mashghoul
ya habibi el omry baa li zaman
aaah arabny beek


"I Live for You"

I'm living for you
the most beautiful of years In my life
oh gleam of my eye
And in my heart,
oh precious, there is desire
And passion from the first day of your love
My dream was to be with you
Even for one day of my life with you
And much time I spent dreaming of you my love
My heart and I'm waiting for you

Come closer to me my love
my yearning for you "walhan?!"
fill my life with desire,
make me forget with you all the sadness
I adore you and whatever I say
My soul will be with you always
My heart is so occupied
My love, my years have been long

I live for you
Get close to me


I just love the music and when I found out about the lyrics, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I was going to use it with my first ever solo choreography. And indeed, the best years of my life I've spent with dancing. I've danced my sadness and broken-heart away, I found new friends, new talents and passion through dancing.

Since Elissa is Lebanese, I'm definitely going to (attempt to) dance Lebanese style, fused with American Cabaret. Hopefully Anaheed and Ansuya would be proud.

The second one will be my (attempted) glam Tribaret (Tribal-Cabaret) piece, with a song from Raul Ferrando called "Yearning". The song is quite a sad one, very good for slow, hypnotic, undulating movements.

Show starts at 7 PM, do come if you have the time!
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